Healthcare for your dog

Prevention is always better than cure – and there’s lots of things you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy.

It’s a good idea to give your dog a basic home health check every so often, alongside their trips to the vet. Once you know what’s normal for your dog, you’ll be able to spot any changes in their health. If you’re worried about anything at all, speak to your vet.

Preventative healthcare for your dog

Our vets’ recommend taking these simple steps to help keep your dog healthy:

  • Make sure you dog is always registered with a vet, in case of emergencies.
  • Consider taking out pet insurance. If your dog has an accident or unexpectedly falls ill with a serious condition, vet bills can soon mount up. Pet insurance helps to take away some of the stress of these situations. PDSA Pet Insurance offers 5** cover for your dog – selected by our vets.
  • Getting your dog neutered can help to prevent serious illness and can behavioural problems.
  • Vaccinations save lives – make sure your dog has their first course of vaccinations, followed by regular booster shots.
  • Your dog needs to be microchipped – it’s the law!
  • Regularly treat them for fleas and worms.
  • Check them over for ticks, especially from early spring to late autumn.
  • Check for signs of ill health every day.
  • Groom them and care for their teeth regularly.

Grooming your dog

Grooming your dog doesn't just keep their coat nice and neat, it also gives you a chance to check them over for signs of illness or injury. You can also use it as an opportunity to look and feel for any changes in their weight.

Different breeds have different grooming needs, so always do your research first. If your dog goes to a regular groomer, ask them for advice on how to care for your dog’s coat in between appointments.

  • All dogs need regular grooming.
  • Long-haired dogs need more coat care than short-haired dogs.
  • Comb and brush a long-haired dog once a day.
  • Brush a short-haired dog twice a week.
  • Buy a brush and comb that are suited to your dog’s hair type. Use a special dog shampoo if you need to give them a bath. You can buy grooming products on PDSA Pet Store.
  • If you notice any changes in their fur or if them seem itchy and uncomfortable, they might have skin allergies. Read our skin care advice for itchy and allergic pets.

How do I know if my dog is ill?

You should check your dog each day for any signs of illness. These might include the following:

  • Sickness or diarrhoea
  • losing or putting on lots of weight quickly
  • not eating as much as normal
  • drinking much more or less than normal
  • lack of energy/sleeping more than usual
  • unusual swellings
  • skin conditions
  • limping
  • coughing
  • unusual bleeding
  • signs of pain, such as not wanting to be touched
  • runny eyes or nose.
  • Any changes in your dog’s normal behaviour could be a sign they’re ill.

If you are worried about the health of your dog, always speak to your vet.